How to Support Culture and People during Learning Transformation

In the sixth part of our case study blog series, Alfonso Riley, learning technology consultant at Caterpillar Inc., explains the last two steps in the Global Dealer Learning (GDL) team’s change management process: Culture and People.

As we covered in the previous post, Caterpillar’s Global Change Management Process evaluates transformation projects from four areas:

  1. Structure
  2. Process
  3. Culture
  4. People

The Structure is centered around a learning ecosystem concept while the Process is focused on providing consistency. These first two areas are critical in creating the infrastructure to support cultural change and skills development. Let’s take a closer look at how Caterpillar manages change across Culture and People.

3) Culture Change Management: centered on values and rules

We needed to change the culture from focusing on incidental training delivery to talent and performance improvement. However, differences across employees’ regions, cultures, and/or knowledge and skill gaps posed a challenge to changing mindsets.

To address these challenges GDL implemented quarterly career development events at various locations to cascade our mission and vision statements. We also created employee toolkits to help apply the new vision.

Why was it important to change the culture from incidental training delivery to talent and performance improvement?

This change is important to ensure readiness for change, become agile against uncertainty, and be able to quickly develop our workforce to adapt to demand changes. First, we started by maturing our Career Development Process and creating the processes that support this product we provide to our dealers. Then we began deploying it to our dealers and ensure they are applying the process and aligning the L&D teams with our global strategy.

It all boils down on having the ability to provide personalized, meaningful, on-demand learning experiences to achieve breakthrough performance. If we remain focused on incidental training, we will only be reacting to problems and will never be able to grow our business

4) People Change Management: centered on the skills that need to be learned and mastered for successful transformation

Over at GDL, we needed to change our employees mindset toward learning. We required a shift in approach, from incidental training delivery to a learning capability development one.

So, the same constraints identified in our culture assessments, applied for our People (i.e. differences in regions, cultures, knowledge).

To enhance collaboration from all our streams, we delivered virtual and face-to-face workshops across the globe. Their main purpose was to take advantage of our diverse workforce, creating an adaptable framework for our Career Development Process.

To help provide a way for leaders and employees to work together, our career development events also not only ensured employees were part of the process, but also all angles from a diversity and inclusion standpoint were covered during implementation

What kind of activities did you employ to drive the cultural change?

We held informational sessions, both face-to-face and virtual to communicate with GDL employees and prepare them for the change, as well as the execution of our Rapid Improvement Workshops (RIWs), involving them in the decision-making process. We made sure they were part of the transformation, rather than imposing the transformation on.

What was the purpose of the employee toolkit?

The toolkit served as a job aid for the deployment efforts to ensure whichever channel we used to contact our dealers, we were effectively communicating our direction and showing its value. And this provides a consistent interaction with our customers and builds trust that we know what we are doing—given that they were receiving the same experience through all our channels.

Change Management: A solid foundation for continuous improvement

By establishing a process of managing and assessing change across Structure, Technology, People, and Process, Caterpillar’s GDL has a clear map of what areas to track, measure, and improve even after the transformation is complete. Specifically, The GDL team defined common metrics that align with business goals and move decision-making from experiential to data driven.

Up Next: Metrics, Results & What’s Next

In the final blog post, Alfonso will discuss how they streamlined metrics through the learning ecosystem and provided on-time data analytics. He’ll also share results from Caterpillar’s Career Development Process, where they’re headed next, and tips on how you can implement a similar approach in your organization.

The information provided in this series is based on Caterpillar’s 2019 award from the Brandon Hall Group in the category of “Best Advance in Creating an Extended Enterprise Learning Program.” Special thanks to Alfonso Riley, Jeff Barbee, Phil Adams, and Paul Gasparro of Caterpillar for their time, contribution, and insights.

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